Dr. Keshet Ronen (Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health) received a Technology and Adolescent Mental Wellness grant by the University of Wisconsin’s Social Media and Adolescent Health Research Team (SMAHRT). The new study, entitled “Social media support for peripartum adolescents in Seattle”, takes lessons learned in Kenya using social media to facilitate peer support for youth and applies them here in Seattle.
The Mobile WACh mHealth platform is the foundation of multiple studies under the Family Planning Decision Support Scientific Priority Area. The system allows for both automated sending of tailored health-related SMS messages and two-way SMS interaction between participants and a health care provider in low- to middle-income countries.
The patient, Gertude, receives automated and personalized messages from a nurse through the Mobile WACh platform regarding her infant’s health. Source: Brenda Daroka (Kenyatta National Hospital), East African Science & Technology Commission Conference presentation
Originally designed to use SMS text messaging as a means to keep expectant mothers informed and involved in the health of themselves and their babies, the platform provides new and innovative opportunities to promote family planning at critical time points. Family planning allows women to determine whether and when to have children, enhancing their educational and employment prospects. This, in turn, improves their income levels, family stability, and mental well-being, while contributing to improved health outcomes for themselves and their children.
We’re pleased to share recent achievements contributed by the Mobile WACh platform.
Dr. Jennifer Unger, MD, MPH
Dr. Keshet Ronen, PhD
As more households in low-income countries own a mobile phone than have access to electricity or adequate sanitation, health care providers are progressively utilizing mobile health (mHealth) platform approaches to provide guidance and support to patients between clinic visits. Evidence shows mobile short message service (SMS) programs improve HIV and maternal-child health outcomes, but there is less understanding about the types of messages that engage recipients and the mechanisms that lead to changes in health behavior. We are pleased to announce that Drs. Jennifer Unger (Assistant Professor, OB/GYN and Global Health) and Keshet Ronen (Clinical Assistant Professor, Global Health) are the principal investigator and co-investigator, respectively, of a UW Royalty Research Fund award to analyze participant messages, and yield an understanding of how recipients use these systems and how care seeking is impacted by SMS conversations.